3. Offensive identity
The Raptors’ offensive woes (subscription required), especially in half-court sets, are well-documented. Their lack of shooting and isolation-heavy attack under Nick Nurse are partially to blame, but will that change under Darko Rajakovic?
Fans should expect things to be different with the new head coach leading, and Fred VanVleet’s departure will also play a role. Does Rajakovic make Scottie Barnes the starting point guard and lead ball-handler? How often does he rely on Pascal Siakam to bail out possessions by creating one-on-one?
The new head coach’s system will likely look quite different. He preaches “0.5 basketball” where players shoot, pass, or dribble within half a second. Rajakovic wants his squad to get into the paint and hunt the highest-quality shots.
Can he get the Raptors to buy into this new offensive identity? It could solve the team’s woes, but only if the players are fully onboard. Toronto finished 13th in offensive rating last season, but they want to be in the top ten in 2024. Improvements in the half-court and getting the ball moving would do wonders.
The Toronto Raptors must establish a new pecking order under Rajakovic. With VanVleet in Houston, who takes over as the number two scorer behind Siakam? OG Anunoby and Barnes both want more shots, but which player gets the majority? The team must figure it out if they want to return to the playoffs.